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Composer of the Week

James MacMillan

Donald Macleod talks to composer James MacMillan as he celebrates his 60th birthday

One of the UK’s most prolific living composers, James MacMillan was born on the 16th of July 1959 in Ayrshire. His grandfather introduced him to brass band music and his primary teacher taught him the recorder. The combination of these musical experiences sparked a lifelong passion in James to make and create music of his own. As well as James’s journey into music, we’ll hear about the birth of James’s political and religious views, and his critiques of Scotland which finds their way into his writing. Donald and James discuss the importance of the composer’s connection with his listeners and performers. His festival, the Cumnock Tryst, brings musical sharing to his community in Ayrshire, and his religious music continues to bring solace even in very difficult family times.

Music featured:
The Storm (Into the Ferment)
Berserking (1st movement)
It is Finished (Seven Last Words from the Cross)
The Confession of Isobel Gowdie
For Ian
Cantos Sagrados (Identity)
The Reproaches (Cello Concerto)
Veni, Veni Emmanuel
A Scotch Bestiary
Tenebrae Responsories
Clemency: Sarah’s Lament
Piano Concerto No 2 (3rd movement – Shamnation)
O Radiant Dawn (Strathclyde Motets)
Miserere
Oboe Concerto
The Sacrifice: Act III, Scene 3
Domus Infelix Est – An Unhappy House
One
Prelude (St Luke Passion)
Benedicimus Deum coeli (Strathclyde Motets)
Violin Concerto (3rd movement – Song and Dance)
Fac, ut portem Christi mortem (Stabat Mater)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Rosie Boulton for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for James MacMillan https://ift.tt/2JHnsQR

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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Carl Nielsen

Donald Macleod explores Carl Nielsen’s worldview through his music.

You’ll find a clue as to Carl Nielsen’s character in any number of photographs that show him smiling; they include snaps of him taken as a young man in which he’s cheekily pulling funny faces for the camera. They’re far removed from the formal portraiture one might expect of Denmark’s foremost composer. As well as a good sense of humour, these unselfconscious poses reveal an open, inquisitive fascination with the world around him.

In this episode, Donald Macleod explores how the world around him fed into Nielsen’s music. Excerpts from five of his symphonies reveal some of his most profound thinking on life, while his major choral works Hymnus Amoris and Springtime on Funen – which directly relate to his rural childhood – show a more personal side of his character. Ever the keen observer, there’s comedy and drama and even a musical portrait of chickens to be found in his operas.

Music featured:
Maskarade: Overture
Violin Concerto, Op 33 (Rondo: Allegretto scherzando)
Frihed er det bedste guld
Helios Overture
Afflictus Sum (3 Motets)
The Cockerel’s Dance (Maskarade)
Se dig ud en sommerdag
Chaconne, Op 32
Symphony No 3 (1: Allegro espansivo)
String Quintet in G major (3: Allegretto scherzando)
Springtime on Funen, Op 42
Five Piano Pieces Op 3 (Humoresque: Allegretto giocoso)
Little Suite for Strings (Intermezzo)
6 Songs, Op 10
Symphony No 1 (Allegro orgoglioso)
Hymnus Amoris
Benedictus Dominus (3 Motets)
Jens Vejmand (excerpts)
Suite, Op 45 for piano (Allegretto un pochettino)
Saga-Dream
Saul and David (Act 4)
String Quartet in F major, Op 44 (1: Allegro non tanto e comodo)
Symphony No 5 (Allegro – Presto – Andante poco tranquillo – Allegro (tempo 1))
Graeshoppen
Wind Quintet (1: Allegro ben moderato)
Pan and Syrinx, Op 49
Sonata for violin and piano No 2, Op 35 (2: molto adagio)
Symphony No 4 (1: Allegro)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Carl Nielsen https://ift.tt/2LSSPJx

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://ift.tt/2JDzr0j
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CPE Bach

Donald Macleod tells the story of the loss – and later rediscovery – of CPE Bach’s music

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was many things in his lifetime: composer, virtuoso harpsichord player and improviser extraordinaire, author, businessman – publishing his own music – biographer – of his father and other members of his family, and teacher. This week we look at CPE Bach’s music and reputation in the light of the sensational rediscovery of much of his archive in 1999. Throughout the episode we’ll hear recent recordings of this ‘new’ music. We’ll learn about CPE’s musical crowd-funding, his emotive Empfindsamer style, his life in Hamburg, and how the discovery has changed the way Bach and his music is seen in 2019.

Music featured:
L’Aly Rupalich, Wq 117 No 27
Keyboard Concerto in D minor, Wq 23
Heilig, Wq 217
Flute concerto in D Major, Wq 13
Solfeggio in C Minor, Wq 117 No 2
Free Fantasie in F sharp minor, Wq 67
Licht der Welt, von Gott gegeben, H 811 (Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe)
Rondo II in D Minor, Wq 61 No 4
Flute Sonata in A minor, Wq 132
Solfeggio in C Minor
Symphony in D Major, Wq 183 No 1
Fantasia No. 2 in C Major, Wq 59 No 6
Wer ist so würdig als du; Ach, ruft mich einst zu seinen Freuden, H 805 (Nun danket alle Gott)
Sonata in C Minor, Wq 78
Morgengesang am Schöpfungsfeste, W 239
Magnificat anima mea Dominum, Et misericordia eius, Gloria Patri et Filio, Sicut erat in principio (Magnificat, Wq 215)
Quartet in D Major, Wq 94
Rondo in A minor Wq 56 No 5
Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen, Wq 240 (Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu)
Leite mich nach deinem Willen, H 835
Cello Concerto in A major, Wq 172 (2nd mvt)
Symphony in B minor, Wq 182 No 5
Sonata in C major, Wq 55 No 1 (Für Kenner und Liebhaber)
Double Concerto for harpsichord and fortepiano in E Flat major, Wq 47

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for CPE Bach https://ift.tt/329Kg2P

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://ift.tt/2RVwDzz
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Fryderyk Chopin

Donald Macleod explores “the poet of the piano”, Fryderyk Chopin.

Donald starts this week’s episode with a look at how Chopin’s Polish heritage shaped his music. Although he left the country at the age of 20, dance forms like the polonaise and mazurka left a strong mark on his writing. Next, we catch fleeting glimpses of the composer through his letters, and his relationship with his instrument, the piano. Chopin’s reticence to perform made his rare appearances extremely lucrative, but he much preferred the more intimate and sociable surroundings of the salon, where his trademark light touch could be appreciated to the full. We hear about Chopin through the eyes of his most illustrious contemporaries – his lover George Sand, and fellow composers Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann. To end, stories of the composer’s ever-feeble health – Berlioz is supposed to have said Chopin was “dying all his life” – which makes the scale of his achievement all the more heroic.

Music featured:
‘Życzenie’ (The maiden’s wish), Op 74 No 1
Piano Concerto No 2 in F minor, Op 21 (3rd mvt, Allegro vivace)
4 Mazurkas, Op 17
Polonaise No 5 in C minor, Op 40 No 2
Polonaise No 6 in A flat, Op 53 (‘Heroic’)
Ballade No 4 in F minor, Op 52
2 Mazurkas (Mazurka in G; Mazurka in B flat)
Piano Concerto No 1 in E minor, Op 11 (2nd mvt, Romance—Larghetto)
Preludes, Op 28
3 Mazurkas, Op 50 (No 1 in G; No 2 in A flat; No 3 in C sharp minor)
2 Nocturnes, Op 55 (No 1 in F minor; No 2 in E flat)
Etude in A flat, Op 25 No 1 (‘Aeolian Harp’)
‘Krakowiak’: Grand Concert Rondo in F, Op 14
Mazurka in B minor, Op 33 No 4
Andante spianato, Op 22 No 1
Impromptu No 3 in G flat, Op 51
Nocturne in F sharp minor, Op 48 No 2
Barcarolle, Op 60
Etude in C, Op 10 No 1
Ballade No 2 in F, Op 38
Variations in B flat major on ‘La ci darem la mano’, from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, Op 2
Scherzo No 4 in E, Op 54
Sonata in G minor for piano and cello, Op 65 (2nd and 3rd movements)
Mazurka in G minor, Op 67 No 2
2 Nocturnes, Op 27 (No 1 in C sharp minor, Larghetto; No 2 in D flat, Lento sostento)
Scherzo No 3 in C sharp minor, Op 39
Ballade No 3 in A flat, Op 47
Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 (3rd movement, Largo)
Waltz in E flat, Op 18 (‘Grande valse brillante’)
Berceuse, Op 57

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Fryderyk Chopin https://ift.tt/2RFfDxj

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://ift.tt/2Fyhcs7
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Jacques Offenbach

Donald Macleod on Jacques Offenbach – maestro of the Cancan and much more besides.

Today’s episode we meet Offenbach on the brink of defeat – when he decides to launch his own theatre company, ‘Les Bouffes-Parisiens’ in a tiny wooden shack on the Champs-Elysées. It was an instant and enduring success; over the next quarter-century, more than 50 of Offenbach’s musical comedies were to début there. We get an insight into the character of this driven creative artist – the man who “cannot stop working”. He even had his carriage kitted out with a writing desk, so that he could continue composing, scoring or revising as he travelled between venues. Next, we hear about his A-team librettists, Meilhac and Halévy, and a mysterious stranger makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Offenbach is whisked to the United States on a concert tour, where he is particularly fascinated by the women. Finally, Donald looks at Offenbach’s gout-ridden final years, and the opera he left unfinished on his death (The Tales of Hoffmann).

Music featured:
Orphée aux enfers (extracts)
Les deux aveugles (Overture)
Monsieur Choufleuri restera chez lui (extracts)
Valse de Zimmer (Dernier Souvenir)
Boléro (from Grande scène espagnole, Op 22)
Lischen et Fritzchen (Act 1, ‘Je suis Alsacienne’)
Le papillon (extract)
Boule de neige (‘L’Hospodar nous invite a luncher avec lui, lunchons!’)
Barbe-bleue (Act 1, Couplets de Boulotte: “Y’a des bergers dans le village”)
La belle Hélène (extract)
La vie Parisienne (Act 3, finale)
La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (Act I, finale)
La Perichole (extract)
La boulangerie à des écus (‘Ce qu’ j’ai?’)
Vert-Vert (overture)
American Eagle Waltz
La vie Parisienne (Act 2, beginning)
Les belles Américaines
La Belle Hélène (Act 2, ‘On me nomme Hélène le blond’)
La jolie parfumeuse (Act 1, ‘Je peins, je crayonne’)
Les contes d’Hoffmann (extract)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Jacques Offenbach https://bbc.in/2IvIDED

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2WYg4DQ
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England’s Golden Age

Donald Macleod introduces six composers who flourished under the rule of Elizabeth I.

The composers of 16th century England flourished under the rule of Elizabeth I, rapidly developing a diverse musical culture unparalleled anywhere on the continent, a truly Golden Age for English music. In this week of programmes Donald Macleod explores six composers who were key to this ascent – Thomas Morley, John Bull, Peter Philips, Thomas Weelkes, Orlando Gibbons and Thomas Tomkins. These composers were all active at around the same time as the “Father of British Musick” William Byrd and John Dowland, and all either studied or worked with Byrd, but they don’t often receive the same attention as those more famous names.

Music featured:
Morley: It was a Lover and his lass / Hard by a Crystal Fountain / Now is the month of maying; Sing we and chant it; On a fair morning / Cruel, Wilt Thou Persever / Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis from First Service /

Tomkins: Fantasia a 6 no. 18 / Too Much I Once Lamented (for Byrd) / Oft did I marle (c.1622) / Know You Not / Cloris When As I Woo / O Let Me Live for True Love / Be Strong and of good courage / Offertory / Thou Art My King / Pavan “for these distracted times” / The Lady Folliot’s Galliard / Burial Sentences

Bull: Chromatic Pavan and Galliard MB 87a/b / Pavan No 2 (from Parthenia) / Almighty God, Which by the leading of a Star / Fantasia on a fugue of Sweelinck / Coranto – Alarm / Pavan & Galliard “St Thomas Wake”

Philips: Hodie beata Virgo Maria; Surgens Jesus; Ave Verum Corpus / Pavan & Galliard (arr. Philips based on Morley’s originals) / Lasso, non e morir / Amarilli (after G. Caccini) / Gaude Maria virgo / Salve Regina / Pavan & Galliard in memory of Lord Paget / Pavan and Galliard Dolorosa

Gibbons: Prelude in D minor / See, See the World is Incarnate / The Silver Swan (c.1611) / Fantasia No 5 in G minor / O Clap your hands / Lord Salisbury’s Pavan and Galliard from Parthenia / Nay Let me weep (Part 1) / O Lord in thy Wrath, Rebuke me Not

Weelkes: As Vesta was from Latmos Hill Descending / O Lord, Grand the King a Long Life
/ O Care Thou Wilt Dispatch Me (Parts 1 and 2) / Come, Sirrah Jack, ho! / Thule, the period of cosmology – The Andalusian merchant / Death hath deprived me of my dearest friend

Alfonso Ferrabosco the Elder: Questi ch’indizio fan del mio tormento

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Sam Phillips for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for England’s Golden Age https://bbc.in/2IpkKNT

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2I1zzY4
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Dmitry Shostakovich

Donald Macleod explores the music of Dmitry Shostakovich through the lens of his family life.

In this week’s episode, Donald introduces us to Shostakovich – the family man. Turning his attention to the middle of the Russian composer’s life, we hear the story of his relationships with his two children (Galina, born in 1936, and Maxim, born in 1938) and his first wife Nina, who he was married to from 1935 until her death in 1954. Starting with the complicated early days of building a family, Donald tells us how Shostakovich celebrated the birth of his first daughter, plus the answer to an important question: was Shostakovich a cat or a dog person? Next, we meet the family as wartime evacuees and hear about the symphony that was almost lost in a toilet on a train. We join the Shostakoviches in a country retreat set up by the USSR Union of Composers, where they spent memorable summers, and hear about the terrifying moment Shostakovich received a phone call from Stalin. Lastly, Donald reveals how Shostakovich coped following Nina’s death, and the music which his grief inspired.

Music featured:
Suite for Variety Orchestra
Six Romances on Texts by Japanese Poets, Op 21
The Tale of the Silly Little Mouse
Symphony No 4 in C major Op 43
6 Romances on Verses by English Poets, Op 62 – 1. Sir Walter Raleigh to His Sonne
Sonata No 2 in B minor, Op 61
Symphony No 7 in C major ‘Leningrad’, Op 60
Children’s Notebook Op 69 (1-7)
String Quartet 2 in A major, Op 68
Piano Trio No 2 Op 67
Symphony No 8 in C minor Op 65
Pirogov (Finale)
Violin Concerto No 1 in A minor Op 77
The Song of the Forests Op 81
String Quartet No 4, Op 83
Festive Overture, Op 96
Symphony No 10 in E minor, Op 93
Piano Concerto No 2 in F major, Op 102
String Quartet No 7 in F sharp minor, Op 108
Youth (Romance) from The Gadfly

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Amy Wheel for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Dmitry Shostakovich https://bbc.in/2HB3OF5

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2HytmCw
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Igor Stravinsky

Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky.

In this week’s episode, Donald explores the composer who is said, in his music, to have ushered in the 20th century: Igor Stravinsky. His name is probably still most associated with the utterly extraordinary, revolutionary evening that prompted that accolade – the premiere of The Rite of Spring in Paris on the 29th of May 1913. We’ll hear about his pivotal relationships with fellow musician Rimsky-Korsakov, his assistant Robert Craft and the impresario Sergei Diaghilev. Plus, Donald delves into some of the most formative periods in Stravinsky’s life: his creative move towards neo-classicism, the death of his wife, his lonely exile to the USA, and his experiments with serialist methods.

Music featured:
Rite of Spring
Scherzo in G minor
Pastorale
Four Etudes, Op 7, Nos 3 and 4
Symphony in E flat major (1st and 2nd movements)
Faun and Shepherdess
Scherzo Fantastique
Fireworks
The Firebird Suite
Three Movements from Petrushka
Pulcinella (Overture)
Mavra: Russian Song (arr for cello & piano)
Octet (2nd movement)
Symphony of Psalms
Concerto in E flat major ‘Dumbarton Oaks’
Tango
Ebony Concerto (1st and 2nd movements)
Scherzo a la Russe
Symphony in Three Movements
Rake’s Progress: Act I Scene 3 (excerpt)
Mass (Kyrie, Gloria)
In Memoriam Dylan Thomas
Movements for Piano and Orchestra
Agon: Act IV
The dove descending breaks the air
Canticum Sacrum

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Martin Williams for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Igor Stravinsky https://bbc.in/2WD30Vk

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2WyIB3H
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Amy Beach

Donald Macleod follows Amy Beach’s quest to create a uniquely American sound in her music.

Amy Beach was born in the 19th century and, like all women composers of her generation, she found her path to greatness strewn with obstacles. This week, Donald Macleod charts her struggle to take control of her own destiny and become one of America’s most cherished cultural figures; a composer who helped lead her nation into the mainstream of classical music. Famed conductor, Leopold Stokowski noted that her symphony was “full of real music, without any pretence or effects but just real, sincere, simple and deep music.” In her search to develop her individual voice as a composer, Donald discusses the impact of her religious beliefs, her marriage and the places which shaped her work: her first tour of Europe, and the MacDowell Colony, where she composed most of her later works.

Music featured:
Pastorale, Op 151
Romance, Op 23
Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic) (Alla sicilana & Lento)
Evening Hymn, Op 125 No 2
From Grandmother’s Garden, Op 97
The Year’s at the Spring, Op 44 No 1
Valse Caprice, Op 4
Canticle of the Sun, Op 123
Though I take the wings of morning, Op 152
Trio for violin, cello and piano, Op 150
Ah, love, but a day, Op 44 No 2
A Prelude, Op 71 No 1
When far from her, Op 2 No 2
Come, ah come, Op 48 No 1
Nunc Dimittis, Op 8 No 1
Peace I leave with you, Op 8 No 3
Violin Sonata in A minor, Op 34
Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic) (Allegro di molto)
Autumn Song, Op 56 No 1
Prelude Op 81
Der Totenkranz, Op 73 No 2
The Candy Lion, Op 75 No 1
Piano Concerto in C sharp minor, Op 45
On a Hill
Je demande à l’oiseau, Op 51 No 4
A Hermit Thrush at Eve, Op 92 No 1
A Hermit Thrush at Morn, Op 92 No 2
Quartet for Strings, Op 89
Ambache
Trois morceaux caractéristiques, Op 28

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Amy Beach https://bbc.in/2VEnUpL

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2VEopQF
via IFTTT

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